Preview Workflow

Viewing: Graduation - Honors

Last approved: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 23:40:07 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 23:40:06 GMT

Catalog Pages Using this Policy
Graduation - Honors
Fall 2019
University Level
EPC Ad Hoc Committee for Academic Policies
The EPC Ad Hoc Committee for Academic Policies recommends a revision to the honors policies for baccalaureate and associate degree students.
The goal of the revision is to recognize high-achieving students who have earned the necessary credit hours for a Kent State degree, but who do not have the required Kent State credit hours for honors designation per the current eligibility requirements. Please note that this proposal pertains only to the university-wide honors bestowed upon students at graduation (e.g., magna cum laude), and not to an honors recognition given by
the Honors College or by individual departments.

Proposal Summary for a Policy:

University Catalog
A request for the EPC Ad Hoc Committee to review Kent State’s honors policy—specifically the requirement that students must have 60 Kent State credit hours to be eligible—was made by advisors who work with transfer students and by transfer students themselves.

Discussion of Kent State’s institutional honors policy brought forth strong and conflicting viewpoints among EPC Ad Hoc members and from student groups and colleagues with whom EPC Ad Hoc members consulted for feedback.

On the one side was the opinion that the 60-credit hour requirement ensures that students applying for honors have completed at least half their degree program at Kent State. To lower or eliminate that requirement would be unfair to native Kent State students because those students will have all their grades calculated for an honors determination; whereas, students who transfer in many courses will not have their transfer grades factored into determining honors.

On the other side was the opinion that many high-performing students will have been high performing at all the institutions they attended. For these students, it is unfair for Kent State not to recognize their achievements. They may have started their studies at another institution, but they chose to earn their bachelor’s degree from Kent State. To honor students who came later to Kent State would not remove or diminish the honor bestowed upon students who began here.

No matter the perspective, those on both sides agreed that the current eligibility restriction for honors is not transfer friendly. With the enrollment forecast of a shrinking high school population—Ohio high school graduates are expected to decline by 13,000 in the next 15 years—the university has set a strategic focus on enrolling other student groups, most prominently, transfer students.

Kent State has 68 active and pending transfer partnerships and agreements with community colleges to allow associate-to-baccalaureate articulation with Kent State’s programs. The university is developing a dual admission partnership with Cuyahoga Community College to facilitate a seamless entry to specific Kent State bachelor’s degrees for Tri-C graduates. The Regional College is working with Eastern Gateway Community College to tap that community college’s large online student population to enroll in one of the college’s online bachelor’s degrees after they earn their associate degree at Eastern Gateway.

While the majority of these partnerships and agreements have an associate-to-bachelor’s sequencing plan that calls for students to complete 60 credit hours at Kent State, several have less, including Lorain County Community College (58 credit hours), Stark State College (55 credit hours) and North Central State College (55 credit hours). The articulation agreement with Lakeland Community College for the construction management program is structured so that students will need only 30 credit hours to earn their Kent State bachelor’s degree. Students who follow these plans will be ineligible for honors the moment they enroll at Kent State.

In addition to developing the numerous associate-to-baccalaureate transfer agreements, Kent State also offers several baccalaureate completer programs for students who hold a specific credential and/or have amassed college credit. The College of Nursing’s B.S.N. degree program for registered nurses is 59 Kent State credit hours. The Regional College’s B.S. degree in Respiratory Care for respiratory therapists is 57 Kent Sate credit hours. (Both are 120 credit hours including transfer credit hours.)

In academic year 2018-19, new transfer students to the Kent Campus came with an average of 58 transfer credit hours. Of that transfer population, nearly 30 percent had more than 60 transfer credit hours (see Appendix A). A five-year review of Kent State baccalaureate graduates revealed that students graduating with less than 60 Kent State credit hours has steadily increased, from 166 graduates in 2013 to 211 graduates in 2017. These graduates had, on average, 47 Kent State credit hours (see Appendix B).
The 60-credit requirement for honors eligibility not only affects transfer students but also College Credit Plus students who complete college courses in high school and are admitted to Kent State as new students (not transfer). In fall 2014, 33.2 percent of new freshmen on the Kent Campus had transfer college credit. Just four years later, that number has increased nearly 10 points to 42.9 percent. In fall 2018, new freshmen arrived on the Kent Campus with an average of 16 transfer credit hours, a full semester (see Appendix C). Two of Kent State’s top feeder colleges for transfer students had the third and fourth highest student enrollment in the College Credit Plus program: Cuyahoga Community College (4,653 students) and Stark State College (4,429 students) .
The alternative is status quo, and the consequences will be a continuation of graduating students with a worthy Kent State GPA who feel disheartened that the university will not recognize their academic achievements. Many of these graduates feel that they are being treated like “second-class citizens” – leading to less-engaged alumni. The current policy is misaligned with the university’s strategic goal to increase and support a transfer student body.
The EPC Ad Hoc Committee for Academic Policies recommends that, effective for Kent State’s December 2019 graduation, revisions to the honors policies as outlined on the following pages be approved to recognize high-achieving graduates with transfer coursework.

What changes are proposed for recognition at the bachelor’s degree level?
* Policy name: From Institutional Honors to Latin Honors
* Inclusion of students with more transfer credits: Students with less than 60 Kent State credit hours will be eligible for honors if they have a 3.500 transfer GPA at the point of their most recent admission

What changes are proposed for recognition at the associate degree level?
* Decrease of minimum Kent State credit hours for eligibility: From 32 to 30 credit hours
What stays the same for recognition at both degree levels?
* Minimum Kent State GPA for each honors designation
* Method for calculating and determining Kent State GPA for honors

Proposal Summary to Establish or Revise an Academic Administrative Structure

Key: 27